Welcome to 50 first times. For those who came in late, I’m working my way through 50 previously unseen movies, watching good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between.

The rules are as follows:

  • The film I watch has to be something new (for me)
  • The film can be from any decade/genre

Today I’m watching…

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Image: ©Fox Searchlight Pictures/Disney

Of all the movies I’ve chosen so far for 50 first times, today’s offering is one of the newest films on my list. Can You Ever Forgive Me? came out in October 2018 in the US/February 2019 in the UK.

When the movie was released in cinemas I really wanted to see it. But for one reason or another I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule and it dropped out of theatres before I had some free time.

So, what do I know about Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Well, I know the film stars Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, and that despite McCarthy’s involvement, this is not a comedy. I believe it is a biographical picture about a writer, who passes off forgeries to earn money.

I probably know a little bit more than this thanks to all the promotional work that circulated when the film came out, but I can’t quite recall. For now, that’s what I remember, so it’s time to watch the film.

*Presses play*

1min – The film is set during 1991. Hmm… that was like five years ago, right? Cuz I refuse to accept the ’90s was anything more than a few years ago.

4mins – Jane Curtin is in this movie! I loved her in Third Rock From the Sun. I’ve already decided that I’m on board with this film. McCarthy, don’t you let me down!

5mins 30secs – I don’t think McCarthy will let me down – she’s already playing against type. I like what’s going on here.

10mins – So, what I’m getting from this movie so far is that McCarthy is playing an author who is struggling financially. She’s behind on her rent, she’s unable to pay bills, she’s selling whatever she has, and life is not moving forward in the way she hopes it would. #Relatable

19mins – To raise some cash, McCarthy has just sold a personal letter to a book dealer. The letter was from Katherine Hepburn, and it has bagged McCarthy some much needed dosh!

22mins – After accidentally coming across a letter from Fanny Brice, McCarthy has now sold this letter on to the same book dealer.

27mins – And now she’s sold another letter (also from Fanny Brice), only this time she’s added extra content to it, to make it more interesting and thus more valuable.

28mins – OK, so I’m now getting to the heart of this movie. Realising that she can make money by faking content, McCarthy is writing letters and forging signatures to make money, including a faked letter from Noel Coward.

32mins – McCarthy has just been asked to name her price on the Coward letter. This is now the gateway to a criminal career.

*Puts movie on pause*

So, I can safely say this is a good film. I remember some buzz about Can You Ever Forgive Me? around award season, with both McCarthy and her co-star, Richard E. Grant being nominated for Academy Awards, but I don’t believe they won.

*Googles Can You Ever Forgive Me?*

Nope, this film didn’t win any Academy Awards. It did pick up a few other awards though.

Oh, so I’ve just noticed how much money this movie made – $11.7 million. Unfortunately, it cost $10 million to make, so it barely made back its budget.

Bugger. This is why there are so many franchise movies at cinemas – because small pictures like this don’t make much money. Shame. But as I didn’t catch it at the cinema, I can’t say I’m helping to change things.

OK, back to the movie.

*Presses play*

47mins – Ben Falcone just got a cameo as a dealer! Falcone is McCarthy’s real-life husband.

59mins – Busted! McCarthy’s forgeries have just been exposed. And now she’s being blackmailed by Falcone. How will she get out of this?

1hr 5mins – Richard E. Grant is now selling the forgeries on McCarthy’s behalf. OK, so that was relatively easy to get around.

1hr 13mins – And the criminal behaviour continues – McCarthy has stolen some letters. Oh, and to make matters worse, her cat has died.

1hr 21mins – The entire scheme has been exposed.

*Puts the movie on pause again*

I’ll say this again, this is a really good movie. McCarthy is excellent in this role, and it is completely different to the parts she usually plays.

I knew nothing about the true story behind this movie – that of the forgeries of author Lee Israel. It’s fascinating.

*Presses play*

1hr 31mins – Into the final ten minutes now and it’s time for an emotional moment between McCarthy and Grant.

*Sniff*

I’m not crying – you are!

*Presses stop*

Superb!

It may have taken me a year to get to it, but Can You Ever Forgive Me? proved to be worth the wait. A captivating movie, with terrific performances from both McCarthy and Grant.

If you have not watched Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and I haven’t just ruined the entire plot of this movie (sorry about that), then give this film a watch. Of all the movies I’ve watched so far in 50 first times, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is easily the best.

Bravo.

I really enjoyed this one.

Thanks for reading this latest entry in 50 first times. If you want to check out more of my posts on other previously unseen films, then dive into Rainbow (1996)A Knight’s Tale (2001)Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins (1995)The Holiday (2006)The Great Escape (1963)Song of the South (1946)Trilogy of Terror (1975)Rob Zombie’s 31 (2016)Chef (2014)High Noon (1952)Xanadu (1980)When A Stranger Calls (1979)The Sitter (1977)A Night at the Roxbury (1998)The Dark Crystal (1982)Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985)Super (2010)When Harry Met Sally (1989)What We Do in the Shadows (2014)Shin Godzilla (2016), and Road House (1989).